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Thread: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

  1. #21
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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    WWE Wrestlemania 23 (1/4)

    Chris Benoit vs MVP

    Pretty good mid-card match. They weren’t going big but wrestled a smart one. Benoit carried MVP but I thought the way he MVP started working over Benoit’s arm came about was very organic and he stayed focused on it all match. I liked how Benoit, knowing he was vulnerable, tried to end the match as quickly as possible. Weird that he won with the Diving Headbutt, I can’t remember too many times he actually won with it in WWE, but I left something on the table for their future matches.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWOXJokJe5k

    Batista vs The Undertaker

    This still holds up as heavyweight bombfest. All of the big spots look great and were sold as big deals. Taker's no hands tope is still pretty spectacular for a guy his size. I remember at the time the perception was that Taker carried Batista, but considering how many stinkers Taker had with other big men through his career I think this is clearly more a case of Batista being really motivated and stepping up for a career performance. This is the type of match Drew McIntyre should be aiming to emulate, but this is also devoid of a lot of the tedious modern tropes. Taker kicks out of a move and instead of Batista going NXT face in disbelief, he just gets more frustrated and pummels him some more. The set-up for the Last Ride is still one of the most telegraphed spots in all WWE during this period, but otherwise the finisher kick-outs were dramatic without going overboard. I could be wrong, but this might be the first time anyone kicked out of the Batista Bomb. In hindsight this was a great showing for Batista especially and really helped to dispel the idea that he sucked, and even in defeat he was elevated by being so aggressive and dominating a legend like Undertaker for so much of the match.

    John Cena vs Shawn Michaels

    Really interesting to see the parrallels between this and Batista/Taker. Both have the 2005 crowned aces of this generation against fan favourite vets from the 90s generations, and both matches helped elevate both guys and improv their cred as workers. This had a lot more showmanship and bells and whistles than the former, but still delivered a satisfying big time main event. Good clash of styles and personalities here - Cena is the powerhouse, Michaels uses speed and guile; Cena is Mr Serious, Michaels is brimming with confidence, bordering on cocky. The opening moment with Michaels baiting Cena with a slap, dodging a big clothesline and planting him with a big chop is great. Michaels controls most of this early on until he takes the post bump where he blades and bleeds a bunch. The way it came across, Cena was more lucky than anything to move out of the way and turn the tables. Michaels does do some legwork stuff on Cena, who sells the damage quite well, but it doesn't really go anywhere. There's a ref bump which feels quite unnecsary but serves as a way for Michaels to hit the big piledriver on the steps, which is still a great spot and busts Cena open hardway on the crowd on his skull, which is quite nasty. Despite Michaels taking a lot of this match, Cena's offensive flurries still hit great. He might have the best clotheslines in WWE, he looks like he decapitates Michaels with a few here and I can fully buy basic moves like that turning the tide when he connects with them. Final stretch is big match wrestling done well, big nearfalls without getting silly. Both the Sweet Chin Music and FU were pretty well protected, I can buy Michaels kicking out of 1 FU which he did, but not 3 or 4. The desperate scrambles over the STF also helped break it up so it wasnt just moves and nearfalls and created a sense of urgency with Michaels trying to escape. I still say the RAW match was clearly better, and this had some flaws, but I still rate it.

    ----

    This will likely be the last Retrospective I do for a while, with the UK lockdown now being eased my social life is picking up quite quickly. I will finish this thread with Backlash and a couple of other matches then put it on hiatus for now. If anyone knows where I can watch ROH Fighting Spirit, Good Times Great Memories, and/or Low Ki vs Hernandes from this month, that'd be appreciated!
    Last edited by King Steventon; 04-19-2021 at 12:19 PM.
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  2. #22
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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Akiyama & Shiozaki vs Takayama & Suguira, NOAH 14/4

    A lead in to the GHC tag title match later that tour with Rikio being swapped out for Shiozaki. More good heavyweight wrestling, with this having a lot more Takayama wrecking dudes. The Tak/Sugs team take a lot of this and give Shiozaki a good working over. Both teams have good chemistry together and they keep a nice pace through this and leave plenty on the table for the big title match. Huge finish as Suguira pins Akiyama clean as a whistle in the middle of the ring, guy looks like a young phenom coming into his career bout. Good effort all round.


    Necro Butcher vs MASADA, IWA:MS 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' 22/4

    Unfortunately can't find the tremendous Ki vs Hernandez match from this show online, but did manage to get this one. Worth noting that this happened the day after the mental FIP Necro brawl posted above.

    This was 2 of the most popular Deathmatch guys on their generation, and it delivered on that promise of a clash of titans. Considering the circles they both travelled their careers, they rarely cross paths outside a couple tours in Japan, and this is the first of only 2 singles matches they had in the States (the second being many years later). MASADA is a good brawler, but a lot of his matches can turn into 'look how hardcore we are!' gore-fests built around guys getting stabbed in the face, which isn’t my bag, but thankfully this is more of a Necro match than that. Which means it’s fast paced, has a ton of lunatic bumps, stiff brawling and is about selling the carnage as much as the spots themselves.

    Even though this is face vs face, there’s bad blood here and lots of hate, and all the non-prop stuff was hard-hitting, including a wild punch out exchange with both guys blowing a gasket and teeing off. The flavour of violence was more of a street fight/prop match rather than an actual Deathmatch. MASADA does stab Necro in the face with a broken beer bottle, but otherwise the only weapons involved are chairs and a ladder. The ladder stuff is especially violent, both guys taking some horrific bumps on it, and MASADA throws it at Necro so hard it could have broken his wrist. The big spot they climax with is Necro getting a DVD off the apron through a bunch of chairs, which was fucking bananas. The finish itself was underwhelming – Necro kicks out of some big bombs then gets a roll-up for the upset win, which isn’t a bad idea, but they had Hernandez come out too early for an angle after the match and the crowd were clearly watching him rather than the finish. Minor quibble though, this was still a buffet of tremendous violence and a hellacious war. 'Years taken off of their career' is a great pro wrestling commentary trope, and I believed every word of it watching this.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    ROH 'Good Times, Great Memories' 28/4

    Takeshi Morishima vs SHINGO

    This was pretty good. Kind of felt like Shingo being plugged into Morishima's formula at this point, and that is fine with me and plays to both mens strengths. Shingo catches Morishima off gaurd and takes it to him from the start, and because of Morishima's size he can't use his more esoteric offence so it's all chops, lariats, big power moves and the like. All the stuff which Shingo can do well, and he even plants Mori with a big DVD on the floor. Morishima weathers the storm and goes into rage mode, killing Shingo with clubbing blows. I dig how Morishima shoves away the ref in a lot of his matches, really helps his aura as someone dangerous and full of spite and contempt for this dinky indy promotion he's running through. Morishima no-selling a big superplex and going into MONSTER RAGE was a cool hulk up rather than a lazy transition. Big finishing run as Morishima kicks out of a Shingo's finisher and a lariat before putting him down. Shingo obviously was never going to win, but still a good match which gave me what I want in terms of big boy clubbering and big title match drama.

    Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans

    This was also pretty good. Evans was one of the guys feuding with Strong's NRC faction and they get to it with beef straight at the start. A lot of Evans's kick combos are quite dancey, but all the big high-flying stuff looked great and I always appreciate it when some of the 'risk vs reward' spots don't pay off and the heel takes over. Nice contrast of styles as you have Evans's speed and flying vs Strong as a bruiser. Evans is really flexible and Strong bends him in all sorts of nasty ways, at one point folding him backwards so much his feet were touching his head, which was pretty sick. A lot of good action here that hit all the right notes. We get an acceptable heel finish with Romero kicking Evans in the head while Roddy distracted the ref, allowing Roddy to then hit a big cutter for the win. Evans was already down and out, but it muddied Strong's win just enough for you to want to see them run it back without NRC at ringside. This and the title match are nothing MOTYC level but both overlooked.

    The Briscoe Brothers vs The Motor City Machine Guns

    Here's what I said when I re-watched this one last year in Marketh's ROH thread:

    I have mixed feelings on this one. It still felt like a great match, but it doesn't hold up as much as other matches that will come. The final 5 minutes are BIG but everything before that is pretty mid-tempo. I liked how they escalated through the match from the chain wrestling to the strikes to the high impact moves, but most of the match was 'good' rather than 'great'. There isn't much a story, it's all about the action and workrate, and at the time this was probably the first real super indy tag team epic so it stood out, but that doesn't age quite as well. However it does get credos as the first of this type of match, there's probably a case to be had that without this (or a match similar to this) we don't end up with guys like the Young Bucks.

    Crowd was red hot throughout, but it felt almost like one of them TNA crowds who'd chant 'This is awesome' for anything, like they had decided it was a MOTYC before it even started. Still, this was more restrained than I remembered and a very good match overall, but I wouldn't put it in my Top 10 ROH matches or anything.
    Last edited by King Steventon; 04-22-2021 at 04:27 AM.
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  4. #24

    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Quote Originally Posted by King Steventon View Post
    Unfortunately can't find the tremendous Ki vs Hernandez match from this show online, but did manage to get this one.
    I did some looking around to see if I could find this for you, but it doesn't look as if it's anywhere without paying. The cheapest option seems to be through Highspots streaming where you can rent the individual show (And easily record the event to keep it) for 5 USD.

    https://www.highspotswrestlingnetwor...y-sunday/75571

    Although to make it more worth it for you since Necro vs MASADA is available online, the better option is buying a mp4 from SMV covering IWA-MS in 2007 for 10 USD.

    https://smvod.com/products/iwa-mid-s...-south-in-2007

  5. #25
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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    I did some looking around to see if I could find this for you, but it doesn't look as if it's anywhere without paying. The cheapest option seems to be through Highspots streaming where you can rent the individual show (And easily record the event to keep it) for 5 USD.

    https://www.highspotswrestlingnetwor...y-sunday/75571

    Although to make it more worth it for you since Necro vs MASADA is available online, the better option is buying a mp4 from SMV covering IWA-MS in 2007 for 10 USD.

    https://smvod.com/products/iwa-mid-s...-south-in-2007
    Even better, I currently have an active subscription for Highspots Network! I completely forgot they still had some IWA shows, I only had checked on IWTV.

    Low Ki vs Hernandez, IWA:MS 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'

    This was every bit as great as I remembered. Killer, hard-hitting as fuck big vs small match. Ki has to blast Hernandez as hard as he can with his strikes to stop him in his tracks, and Hernandez man-handles Ki in a way I can't remember many others doing. He was literally ragdoll-ing and tossing him from one side of the ring to the other. Both guys laid it the fuck in, and by the end Ki was teeing off on Hernandez. Hernandez works in some body-part stuff focusing on Ki's mid-section, giving more meaning to his moves like the bear-hug and back-breakers, and both guys sold big time for each other. You can tell Ki really respected Hernandez here and the big man steps up to have what is probably his best match ever. The finishing stretch is tremendous, we get Hernandez doing some awesome wobbly leg selling as he tries to stay up while getting blasted, him running through Ki like a freight train, and even a big bodyslam a la Hogan-Andre. Hernandez skinning-the-cat up to the turnbuckle only for Ki to hit him with the tidal wave kick out of nowhere was so cool. Great match, probably an Indy MOTYC for 2007.
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  6. #26
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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    WWE Backlash 29/4

    The Hardy Boyz vs Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch

    Nice, basic tag team wrestling done well. Both teams have good chemistry and some fun double-teams. The heels' heat section was more lukewarm than hot, they kept things moving but there wasn't anything that put the Hardys in any real danger, which was the biggest obstacle here. They never looked like they had a chance of winning and the match was heatless as a result. They'd go on to have a better match at Judgement Day, but this was fine if forgettable. That said, we'd probably be thankful to get this kind of tag team match on PPV in 2021.

    Chris Benoit vs MVP

    Despite going almost twice as long as the Wrestlemania match, this was considerably worse. Just way too much MVP. Holy fuck, what a reminder of how boring he was in the ring. Just long boring hold after long boring hold with nothing to them. The brief flurries Benoit gets in get instant reactions from the fans, but MVP is such a major heat suck. They were trying to go for the story of MVP out-wrestling Benoit, but the reality was just a bunch of extended neck-locks and the like. Then Benoit gets a cradle roll-up out of nowhere. Keep Porter on the stick.

    The Undertaker vs Batista - Last Man Standing

    Similar to the Wrestlemania match, this was big men throwing big bomb and big slams, and I am all about that. Both men come into this looking visibly banged up before the bell even rings and they do a great job selling the damage throughout, which is where the Last Man Standing gimmick probably helped them out a lot. Batista bleeds a bunch after getting creamed with the steel stairs and Taker's big legdrop through the announce table was a great Holy Shit spot. They do a really good job milking the drama out of the 10 counts and this felt like a war between two monster heavyweights. The no contest finish with the Spear through the rigging and crash mat was one of the better looking stunts the WWE have done of that type and felt like a fitting way to conclude this and set up the eventual third match. Batista was elevated more through these evenly worked battles with Undertaker than he was crushing guys like Booker and Kennedy.

    John Cena vs Shawn Michaels vs Edge vs Randy Orton

    This was also still a lot of fun. WWE must have ran a hundred fatal fourways over the years and most of them nothing great, but this stands up as probably near the top of the pack for the gimmick. They leaned really heavily into the whole 'guys team up, guys turn on each other' deal and was better for it. It wasn't just a formula, it was the clear story of the match. That said they did a good job having most of the guys involved at the same time so it wasn't just 2 guys working while the others rested on the floor, and that meant the pace was good throughout and there were a number of cool multi-man spots. Edge being a dirtbag and using a chair because of the no DQ rules and then instantly getting his comeuppance as Cena countered him into the STFU was a fun moment. Final few minutes were pretty hot with everyone hitting their finishers and Cena escaping by the skin of his teeth by falling on Orton. Good match.
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